Racing myself and losing

It’s really interesting considering the variables that influence speed.  I always seem to run faster when I am slightly cooler, like last week: this afternoon however I was wearing an extra layer, to ward off a cooler day, which made me feel slightly too warm.  I’m not sure what effect getting up late has, but I suspect that an 11am start is always going to slow me down, not least as it meant I didn’t particularly want to go running at all!  But the big variable is how focused I am and it was running along thinking about all this stuff (and way more) that I reckon actually slowed me down.

I ran the same route as last week which, in short, took me around Burgess Hill and then down to Clayton and back… 11 miles in total.  I had a rough sense about where the mile markers were and whilst I wasn’t slavish in trying to remember the time at the different mile points, I noted enough to be interesting.  The great thing about data, as I am forever telling my clients, is the ability to get a sense of what was going on… albeit in this case, after the fact.

The first seven miles, while I allowed my mind wandered hither & thither, I ran at 6.5mph, or 9.2 minute miles.  Then I picked up the pace, pretending I was running downhill and ran the next 3 miles at 7.2mph, or 8.3 minute miles.  All of which left one final mile and no chance of equalling last weeks’ time.  No matter, as I was still determined to beat an average of 9 minutes per mile (in effect, racing Phil), so I picked up my skirts and flew, even up the hill from Wivelsfield Station, managing this final mile in 7 minutes, 8.5mph.  This gave me an overall time of 1.37 for the 11 miles, average 6.8mph or 8.8 minutes per mile.

One of the reasons that I tend to vary my route is that I don’t actually like racing myself (as a paratelic it is the journey that is of more interest), but I was curious to see whether I could repeat the time from last week.  Alas not, which means that I’ll almost certainly be returning to this route again!

Plus one

My legs were only vaguely stiff from yesterday, but I thought it prudent to disperse the lactic acid regardless in view of the increased pace.

Thus I ran an easy mile on the machine in 9:11.


On occasions I am SO ready to run on a Sunday morning, but yesterday was not one of these.  I knew that I had to be showered and ready to leave the house by 2pm and it was interesting to observe how my mind sank into Flotsametrics, the book that Nigel & Kristin gave me for Christmas, thus shortening the time available to run.

It’s a double edged sword though, as with less time you need more focus and where I would normally run out and follow my nose, I instead planned where I would run to maximum benefit.

I’ve been running sub-Phil Stupples (as in slower than) for some time now (although to be fair I do usually run off-road) and I wanted to see whether this was reversible.  So my planned route went down to Wivelsfield Station, along to London Road and then south to Clayton, where I went up the lane 400m or so to make up the mileage.  And back again, obviously.

The advantage of pre-planning was that I knew roughly where the miles fell and could thus see how I was doing for a change.  It also allowed me to be more deliberate in my choice of clothing, going for cotton socks and no jacket… all the better for running slightly faster!

En route I passed a surprised-looking Mister Matt Beermatt and also the guys from Crawley Community Payback who were tidying the grass verges.

You may be surprised at how delighted I was to see someone edging the grass, but I have been agitating with the local council, my local MP and central government since last year for this very task to be engaged with.  My suggested strategy was deeper and more involving, but this is at least a great start!

My lite set-up worked well, as though I was cold to start with, it enabled me to keep up a good pace and arrive back quite literally steaming.

The pace was not the 10 minute-miles that was my backstop to get back in time to go out.  Not even Mister Stupples 9.12 pace, but 8.64 miles per minute.

This is not far off the 8.57 pace that I used to run the 7 miles to work from Earls Court in 2004, though then I used to arrive in London Bridge ready to collapse, whereas yesterday I returned having merely enjoyed a fun run.

So 11 miles, 1.35, 6.95mph.

A slower version

The Speed At Last post gives the details, but here is the more long-winded version for those of you who enjoy the photographs.

I ran from my parents place again… and on a wet & windy day.  Add to this that Kim and I had eaten out with friends both Friday & Saturday nights and you might get a sense why I would have preferred to have stayed drinking tea with my folks.

I ran out of the top of Woodingdean, over towards Kingston but sticking to the top of the scarp slope until the yellow brick road took me down into the mud above Rodmell.

Here I came across the Uckfield Scouts out in training for the Overland Hike, which I myself competed in a few times when I was a Boy Scout, 30 years ago!

After a steep dip down Mill Hill and a sharp rise up Fore Hill, I headed on down to Telscombe Tye and the coast road I ran along last week.

It seemed too early to head back up the Falmer Road so I dropped down onto the Undercliff walk and ran to Ovingdean… where I’m sure Cliff would have been disappointed as I walked gently up the stairs.

I ran up the Ovingdean valley, pausing to pay my respects to my mate Ric at the church, then headed up the steep hill and left along the track to Mount Pleasant.  This track leads up to the Scout Hut in Woodingdean and my first school and on he way I managed to catch up with a guy out for the second run of the year… doing pretty well.

And that was that, results as previously stated… and then tea with my folks!

Postscript: I’ve run with Stuppsy a few times and we were fairly evening matched… but though our Sunday runs this week lasted pretty much the same time, he ran 14.35 miles in 2.17 against my 12.8 miles in 2.20… BOO HA!  Good on yer Phil!

Another mile

I’d not intended to run so far yesterday so I thought I’d better run off the lactic acid this morning.  Slow start but my legs warmed up after a while and I completed a mile in 9:51.

Oi Sexy!

Okay, okay, so it’s not often (ever?) that I’ve been called oi sexy! by someone from a car while I’m running, but I haven’t let it go to my head on account of who shouted it… a couple of twelve year-old Longhillian boys in the mould of a young Mister Richard Marsh!

I’d started from Woodingdean and was planning to be out for a couple of hours and the first decision I had to make in Rottingdean, once I’d stopped laughing, was whether to turn right towards Brighton, or left towards Saltdean.

It was a super-windy grey day and ordinarily I would have headed into the wind on the outward leg, but I felt like some new scenery so I turned left.

With the wind behind me I made light work of the hills and by the time I had run for an hour, I had covered almost 7 miles, through Telscombe, Peacehaven and onto Rusby Hill above Newhaven.  Now all I needed was a convenient marker to turn around, but I couldn’t see anything suitable so I just carried on.

For the sake of a view across the bay to the next headland I followed a cycle path sign and ended up at the docks, turning right again to reach Newhaven Fort.

With the easy half of the run over (outbound with the gradient and wind behind me), I set about running back a more convoluted way, starting with a cliff-top path back to Peacehaven Heights.

When I say cliff-top, it was a little like running along the top of a grassy cornice in places and I was glad that, whilst the wind was pretty forceful, it was at least on-shore and blowing me away from the edge!

Chatting to Cliff a while ago he mentioned making his circuit-training group run up and down a load of steps at the eastern end of the Undercliff and I was about to discover what he was talking about… it certainly made no sense at the time!

I carefully descended the somewhat treacherous steps and found myself in alien territory… I didn’t even know this place existed!  This presumably newer undercliff walk wasn’t more than a mile and a half long, but it was a pretty awesome place, especially in this weather and bar the one solitary guy I saw, I had it all to myself.

Had the tide been lower and the weather more clement, I might have been inclined to continue along the beach, but instead I turned around and retraced my steps to a roadway which brought me steeply back up to Peacehaven, where I set about retracing my steps back to the start.

The hill you can see in the photo above, which takes you from Satdean into Rottingdean, was particularly hard work, with tired legs and the wind full against, but at least I managed to overtake two cyclists.  Okay, so they were walking… and in their seventies… but a cyclist is a cyclist!

I arrived at Rottingdean in the full knowledge that it would be heavy going ascending to Woodindgean.  But though my legs were tired, they seemed to have more power than this time last year and it was less of a drag that I had envisaged.  Either that, or my pain threshold has increased!

I reached the end of a wholesome 16.5 miles in 2.55.  This was an average of only 5.66mph, disappointing after the speed early on, but this was not really surprising with all the twists and turns I took.

A GREAT run… I shall definitely go that way again!